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|Jane the Impaler
Written by Linden
(3/12/2003 8:14 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Dear Aunt Jane, penned by helena6
Loved that line!
My take on it: I see a Jane Austen deeply divided between her character and her principles. She knew that she ought to be kind, virtuous, and not bitchy; but she also knew that her heart, tongue and instincts leaned much the other way.
There's a line in her prayer (see link for the full text) where she asks `Teach us to understand the sinfulness of our own Hearts, and bring to our knowledge every fault of Temper and every evil Habit in which we have indulged to the discomfort of our fellow-creatures, and the danger of our own Souls' IMO, she knew very well her habit of discomforting her fellow-creatures, and tried to stop it.
Sometimes in her writing she slipped, and we see Jane the Impaler: Elizabeth's unspoken thought about Georgiana Darcy (whom she has never met) `Except when she goes to Ramsgate'; Mrs Musgrove's `Large fat sighings', and so on.
Her conflict between her instincts and her principles account for those odd moral ambiguities that we see such things as in Elinor's temptation to succumb to Willoughby's charm, and the way in MP that the villains have all the best lines.
I also think that she saw the same split in her brother Henry (see separate thread): at once the respectable and honest banker, and the witty charming man who won the flamboyant Eliza. Hence her Good and Bad Henry, Tilney and Crawford.
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